SAN JOSE, Calif. — Audi's self-driving car drove a few feet on to the stage of the McEnery Convention Center here, powered in part by an Nvidia Tegra K1 processor. The short trip marked Nvidia's shift in mobile focus to automotive, though the Audi car itself will also use three other processors when it is complete.
The engineer behind the car took a few questions after the keynote at Nvidia's GPU Technology Conference where it appeared. Later, Nvidia's CEO explained why cars, not phones, are his new mobile focus.
Audi hopes its finished self-driving car hits the road for user testing sometime well before 2020. When it does, it will run on four processors, said Andreas Reich, who heads the pre-development electrical design of the vehicle.
The demo shown at Nvidia's event used both a Tegra K1 and an unnamed ARM-based processor. The final system will also have subsystems using an FPGA and a fourth processor yet to be determined.
The demo system used a relatively compact computing subsystem, about the size of a large textbook, packed into a fender well. Overall, one of the top design challenges of the self-driving car is in packing the electronics into the size and power limits of a car, said Reich.
Today the Tegra handles several tasks. It is the sensor hub, fusing inputs from a wide variety of sensors. They include four cameras, front and back radar, a front-based laser scanner, and several ultrasound sensors.
The Nvidia chip then creates a virtual environment for planning a path in which the car can navigate. It's a big job.
Reich says his top challenge is developing a safe car. Indeed, getting government approval to take the car out on the road for user testing is another top challenge ahead, he said.
Andreas Reich next to the prototype Audi self-driving car on the San Jose stage at GTC 2014.
(Source: EE Times)
The early prototype car is already being tested in Silicon Valley, Las Vegas, and Germany, said Reich. Pictures of the self-driving car start on page three of this report.
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